Florida Environmentalist Wants More Gas
While Coastal Corp. and Williams-Transco compete to build a
Trans-Gulf of Mexico pipeline from Alabama to Florida, they may be
able to count on little opposition from environmentalists. However,
they should at least expect them to kibitz.
Gloria Rains, chairman of Florida environmental health
organization Manasota-88, said she is all in favor of bringing more
gas to Florida, particularly if it means gas-fired power generation
will supplant dirty coal- and oil-burning plants. While confessing
she has little familiarity with Coastal's project and is largely
unfamiliar with that proposed by Williams, Rains said
environmentalists will be watching closely plans for siting of the
projects. "Environmentalists would welcome natural gas coming into
the Tampa Bay area because TECO [Tampa Electric Co.] and Florida
Power and Light need to convert to natural gas."
However, project backers should be aware construction that
requires excessive dredging, in their view, particularly across
Tampa Bay, will be met with opposition. "I think they're going to
run into difficulties with their permitting if they propose to go
In the meantime, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Secretary David Struhs, who once was a utility consultant, has met
with Coastal and Williams lobbyists and offered up the department's
best staffers to work on the project, according to the St.
Petersburg Times. "I personally believe Florida would benefit both
economically and environmentally (i.e., cleaner fuel) from such a
project and that they can be built to avoid any serious
environmental harm," Struhs wrote in a memo to Florida Gov. Jeb
Both Williams' Buccaneer pipeline and Coastal's Gulfstream would
extend from Mobile Bay offshore Alabama to Florida's Gulf Coast and
would then traverse the Florida peninsula to the Atlantic Coast.
The big attraction for a Gulf-crossing pipeline in Florida is
the state's serious power generation growth. Florida is expected to
need more than 10,000 MW of additional power generation by 2007,
according to the Florida Reliability Council. Florida pipeline
monopoly Florida Gas Transmission, a Citrus Corp. subsidiary,
already has filed an application with FERC to expand its system. In
December, FGT applied with the FERC for its Phase IV expansion,
which would add 225,000 Dth/d of capacity for multiple shippers,
but primarily Florida Power & Light.
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